NEC developing facial recognition for payments

NEC is currently in talks and holding trials with banks and credit card companies to deploy facial recognition for consumer ID applications, according to a report by IT Wire.

Dr Hitoshi Imaoka, principal research fellow of the Data Research Laboratories at NEC Corporation, confirmed the news this week at the iExpo exhibition in Tokyo.

NEC said that public use of its facial recognition payments systems could happen as soon as late 2017.

While facial recognition is already widely accepted for criminal and surveillance applications, payments require a higher level of accuracy.

Dr Hitoshi said that there were still a few issues regarding the accuracy of facial recognition systems for payments that need to be resolved.

“Using photos for financial applications could be a problem,” Dr Hitosh said. “We cannot be 100% correct. However, using passwords isn’t 100% correct either. Another big issue is using this technology as people age.”

NEC started developing facial recognition technology in 1989, giving it a considerable technological edge over competitors in terms of matching speed and verification accuracy.

“In a National Institute of Standards and Technology benchmark contest we achieved about one tenth the error rate of our nearest competitor,” Dr Hitosh said, but would not specify how big his development team is because NEC’s “competitors are trying to catch up”.

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